Best On-Demand Streaming TV Providers in Customer Satisfaction 2020
The people have spoken—find out which on-demand streaming TV services the US can't get get enough of.
Breaking from our 2019 model of covering only livestreaming TV in our survey, we’ve set on-demand streaming apart in its own spotlight this year. Most people think of on demand as “streaming,” or just “TV,” anyway, so why not? If you’re part of a generation that’s never had to wonder where you’re going to find a show that aired last night, you know what we mean.
After this, we’d recommend also scanning our 2020 Internet Customer Satisfaction Survey. No matter the service, buffering is bad, and your streaming experience will be only as good as your internet connection. It’s possible that you could get faster (and even cheaper) internet service in your area—have a look.
Best on-demand streaming TV providers in customer satisfaction 2020
We surveyed on-demand streaming customers to find out how they’re liking their services in 2020. As with our Livestreaming TV Customer Satisfaction Survey, the numbers were close, with no single service pulling far ahead of the pack.
One on-demand streaming newcomer did make an impressive showing—but we won’t keep you in suspense for much longer.
Overall customer satisfaction
The big reveal: it’s been online only since December 2019, but the streaming people are way into Disney+.
Best overall customer satisfaction
With a massive content library and a tiny price tag, it’s no real surprise that Disney+ topped our polls. How do you compete with Star Wars, Marvel, and The Simpsons? The new service HBO® Max may have an answer, but it launched after we took our survey—2021 could be anyone’s game.
The second-place showing for Disney’s corporate cousin Hulu is a reminder of how far it’s come from its early years as a Netflix wannabe, and the third slot for ESPN+ is also telling. Is it just a coincidence that Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ can be bundled together for just $13.99? Probably not.
As for original streaming behemoth Netflix dropping to number four . . . was it the cancellation of Fuller House, or the ongoing existence of Fuller House? We think it could go either way.
Our best guess for Prime Video’s low ranking is its infamously aggravating interface—which was recently tweaked, to little improvement. Prime Video may have a lot of content, but navigating it is no picnic.
Lack of content is likely the problem with Apple TV+. We really, really, like Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, but where to go after that? There are around only 30 shows and movies on Apple TV+, and they’re not all winners. Have you watched See? No? Lucky you.
How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s original content?
Best original content
- Classic Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Nat Geo content
- So-so Disney+ originals
Baby Yoda for the win! Even though the ostensible star of The Mandalorian is the Mandalorian, Baby Yoda became the adorable face (and meme) of Disney+ overnight. Just wait until the Marvel series, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, arrive later this year.
HBO NOW in second place is no shocker—it’s HBO, the premium network. It is a bit surprising to see Netflix just barely edge out ESPN+, though, as ESPN+ has only a fraction of Netflix’s original content. Maybe quantity isn’t king, after all.
Add-on channel options
Do you pay for any add-on channels or packs with your streaming service? How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s add-on channel options?
Most likely to have add-on channels
- Premium channel add-ons
- Spanish-language add-ons
Only two of our contenders offer add-on channels: Hulu and Prime Video. Hulu offers HBO, CINEMAX®, SHOWTIME®, and STARZ®, as well as multichannel lifestyle and Spanish packages, while Prime Video carries all of those and many more.
Best add-on channel options
It’s tough to beat Prime Video’s add-on channel selection—this is a case where quantity really is king. By our count, there are over 100 channels that can be added to Prime Video, ranging from the lowbrow horror of Shudder to the highbrow drama of PBS Masterpiece.
How satisfied are you with the reliability of your streaming service (buffering, frozen screens, loading failures, etc.)?
It was a squeaker between the Big 4 here, with only single digits separating the performance rankings of Disney+, HBO NOW, Netflix, and CBS All Access.
Despite some launch glitches, Disney+ rose to the top—and this survey was taken before it fixed the aspect ratio on old Simpsons episodes. This obviously wasn’t a factor, but we’re still going to be nerds about it.
How satisfied are you with your streaming service’s user experience (menus, suggested content, etc.)?
Best user experience
Obviously, Disney+ got a lot of things right upfront (not counting The Simpsons snafu, of course). Its clean, simple interface is a breeze for kids and adults alike to browse—Disney knows its audience, for sure.
Hulu was a surprise in second place, as this survey was taken before its recent streamlined menu makeover. Maybe Hulu’s improvements will help it displace Disney+ next year (spoiler: we doubt it).
In your experience, rate your streaming service’s overall value.
OK, OK, we get it—our survey respondents love Disney+. It’s hard to argue with $7.99 a month, though.
Interestingly, Apple TV+ ranked at the bottom for value. Sure, it doesn’t have much content, but it’s only $4.99 a month—and you probably already have it free for a year if you’ve bought an Apple product in the past few months. Didn’t know that? Check your receipts.
What device(s) do you use to stream on the most?
Dedicated streaming devices and smart TVs are still the most popular ways to get on-demand entertainment, but mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc.) are catching up—especially with Disney+ and Apple TV+ subscribers. Laptops and gaming consoles show low numbers overall, unless you’re into ESPN+.
Our final take
We’re way past “streaming TV is the future” now. It’s here, and there are more choices than ever (although we wouldn’t count on Quibi sticking around long enough to make our survey next year).
To sum up, here’s what we like about these on-demand streaming services:
- Disney+ is great for families and doesn’t make a huge dent in the budget.
- Hulu curates increasingly excellent original content and next-day network shows.
- ESPN+ isn’t as all-inclusive as ESPN, but it does sports docs, MMA, and soccer well.
- Netflix still reigns in sheer content quantity and scores critical hits consistently.
Keep streaming—we’ll see you here again in 2021.